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Former Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle Named Sport NZ Boss

F
ormer Rugby Australia CEO, Raelene Castle, has been named as the new chief executive for Sport New Zealand, replacing long-serving CEO Peter Miskimmin, who announced in August he would be leaving in December after 11 years in the role.

Sport NZ chairman, Bill Moran, said in a statement Castle’s experience as a CEO in sports made her the ideal fit for the vacant role.

“Raelene (Castle) brings tremendous breadth and depth of experience as a CEO in sports administration and is a proven people and organisational leader,” Moran said.

“The board of Sport NZ see her as the ideal person to lead our organisation forward as we continue our important work in addressing declining participation among young people and protecting the strength and integrity of our sector,” he said.

Castle’s appointment comes after she resigned from Rugby Australia in April after being told ‘she had lost the support of the board’ after the way she handled the Israel Folau homophobia incident and not being able to secure a new broadcast deal before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Castle said, in a statement, she is looking forward to helping solidify and reshape the sports sector in New Zealand.

“My time in Australasian sport has shown me the critical role sport and recreation play in bringing communities together and the positive impact those experiences have on society,” Castle said.

“I believe I am joining Sport NZ at a key moment in our sector’s history.

“COVID-19 has had an enormous impact at all levels of the sector, but with the Sport Recovery Package, there is a once in a lifetime opportunity to solidify the sector and reshape it to be more robust and deliver more participation opportunities.

“I’m looking forward to being part of that work,” she said.

Outgoing Sport NZ CEO, Miskimmin, when announcing the end of his tenure at the organisation, said there are great opportunities for the organisation moving forward.

“I am extremely proud of what this organisation has achieved over the past 12 years and how well equipped it is to serve our sector moving forward,” Miskimmin said.

“This has been a period of unparalleled sporting success for New Zealand on the world stage.

“It has also been one which has seen Sport NZ make a major step change in addressing the declining participation of our young people and the impact this is having on their wellbeing,” he said.

Castle is set to become just the third CEO of Sport NZ, as well as the first woman to lead the nations top sporting sector organisation.

Before her controversial time at Rugby Australia and the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, Castle was praised for her time at Netball New Zealand, where she spent six years as CEO.